HomeSocial Impact HeroesC-Suite Perspectives On AI: Nima Hakimi Of Convoso On Where to Use...

C-Suite Perspectives On AI: Nima Hakimi Of Convoso On Where to Use AI and Where to Rely Only on…

C-Suite Perspectives On AI: Nima Hakimi Of Convoso On Where to Use AI and Where to Rely Only on Humans

An Interview With Kieran Powell

Lack of Emotional Intelligence: AI can’t yet understand or interpret human emotions like empathy, frustration, or excitement. These are crucial for building rapport and navigating complex sales conversations.

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance and integrate into various aspects of business, decision-makers at the highest levels face the complex task of determining where AI can be most effectively utilized and where the human touch remains irreplaceable. This series seeks to explore the nuanced decisions made by C-Suite executives regarding the implementation of AI in their operations.

As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Nima Hakimi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Convoso, an AI-powered sales platform for fueling growth by forging more connections and supercharging prospect engagement at scale.

Nima Hakimi has led Convoso since its start-up days in 2006 as an innovator of outbound contact center software solutions. Under his leadership, the company has expanded into new growth markets, developing future-forward products that enhance the performance and efficiency of success-driven companies. As an active industry leader, he enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience about best practices, compliance, and strategies for sales and lead generation teams. Nima is a board member of R.E.A.C.H. (Responsible Enterprises Against Consumer Harassment) and advises on how contact centers in the lead generation ecosystem can operate in compliance and remain profitable.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

In 2006, my brother Bobby and I developed dialing software to help out a relative who wanted to communicate better with customers and build a more extensive clientele through lead generation. This led to the creation of our own SaaS company. The shortcut response to how we became a multi-million dollar software enterprise is that from that point on, we focused on supporting the needs of a growing customer base, which meant expanding our engineering talent to drive innovations for the solution. Our leadership team is always looking ahead at emerging trends and technologies so we can pivot in response to shifts in technology, regulations, and telecommunications, and, importantly, so we can proactively grow the company and technology, such as with AI applications, and be ready for the future.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This isn’t funny, but I learned through experience that hiring telemarketers to be B2B salespeople is ineffective. Early on, we posted ads on Craiglist looking for telemarketers to cold call businesses that might be interested in our dialer. While some could set appointments, we soon realized that selling complex technology requires more knowledge and skill than they possessed. To have the conversations we needed and make a solid first impression on the businesses we were targeting, we needed more experienced and knowledgeable salespeople.

Part of this was our attempt to save money as a startup by using what seemed like a cost-effective hiring source. Looking back, it’s clear that even as a start-up, you must invest in higher-quality talent. The key lesson I learned — and continue to apply today — is the importance of having the right people in the right roles.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

It seems like there are always exciting new projects in the tech world, and that’s definitely the case at Convoso. We’ve been building solutions around the needs of our customers since we started in 2006. And part of that is anticipating customers’ needs in a broader sense. We’re always thinking about how to innovate technologies that help our customers as a whole to grow while at the same time expanding the reach of our product to new customers by making it the answer to solving business goals for reaching leads and generating revenue.

So, in that context, years ago–before Generative AI was a thing–we developed a conversational AI product to help our customers qualify more of their leads quickly so that their agents could focus on converting interested leads. Then we pulled back on that while our engineering team overhauled the product and re-launched it last August as, our current conversational AI. We have an amazing group that keeps fine-tuning this product, working with customers, and customizing for their needs, whether for SMS campaigns or human-like engagement on voice — for example, taking front-of-office calls when the staff is busy or after hours. It increases customer satisfaction by helping them determine the reason for their call in real-time while allowing the business to expand its bandwidth and save on costs.

Our product has always stood out amongst our competitors for its speed and automation, built throughout to drive efficiency for sales and lead generation teams. What excites us now is that we’re bringing more and more AI–and not just algorithms, which many people confuse or use interchangeably–into the Convoso platform. This enhancement will give our customers even greater efficiencies in managing their data, improving agent time and performance, and other enhanced features that scale and improve contact center operations.

Recent innovations addressing customer needs include our advanced caller ID reputation management solution, ClearCallerID Pro, which helps prevent call flagging and blocking; and CallCatalyst, built for customers wanting higher productivity with their manual dialing campaigns.

Thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the central focus of our discussion. In your experience, what are/have been some of the most challenging aspects of integrating AI into your product(s), and how are contact centers balancing AI automation with the need to preserve human-centric roles?

First of all, AI is not new. Let me give some context here. AI was introduced in the 1960’s in chatbots. Before ChatGPT, we looked at machine learning as a type of AI. In 2014, we saw the introduction of generative adversarial networks (GANs), a machine learning model in which two neural networks use deep learning methods to create more accurate predictions. This type of AI is challenging because it’s only as good as the data it’s trained on. Convoso shines here because we have directed millions of calls across our platform. We leverage this type of AI to scale leads and insights across our platform. And we do it better than anyone else.

The recent buzz around Generative AI is driven by the simplicity of new user interfaces that create high-quality text, graphics, and videos. Advancements in large language models (LLMs) enable GenAI models to write engaging text and create scripts on the fly. Beyond that, multimodal AI innovations have enabled teams to generate content across multiple media types, including text, graphics, and video.

The current challenge is understanding where these advanced capabilities fit in the contact center industry, powered largely by one-on-one conversations. For Convoso, the most exciting part of the next evolution of AI in contact centers lies in upskilling the workforce. While AI handles lower-level tasks like appointment setting, lead qualification, and other routine tasks, human agents can focus on more strategic, value-added tasks like selling, which includes complex problem-solving, building strong relationships, and offering personalized support.

What are some of the limitations of AI in your field?

AI isn’t a silver bullet [although we’ve had some customers who think it is, and we need to educate them on where AI can and cannot be helpful to their business]. Some of the current limitations are:

  • Lack of Emotional Intelligence: AI can’t yet understand or interpret human emotions like empathy, frustration, or excitement. These are crucial for building rapport and navigating complex sales conversations.
  • Difficulties with Nuance: Sales conversations are full of nuance and unspoken cues. AI struggles to interpret these, leading to misunderstandings or generic responses that don’t resonate with the customer.
  • Customer Perception: Some people still perceive AI as a new technology, so they might be wary of interacting with it. For some of our customers, there’s a risk of their clients, patients, policyholders, etc., feeling like they’re just another number in the system.

Overall, AI will get more advanced as we move towards the future. Convoso believes the agent is still the best person to close the deal. AI is an excellent tool for automating tasks, qualifying leads, and providing insights. However, for successful outbound sales, the human touch remains irreplaceable.

How do you navigate the challenges of implementing AI, and how do you promote ethical AI usage, especially concerning potential job displacement?

We are committed to developing and using AI responsibly. We have robust processes to ensure compliance with relevant federal and state communications and data privacy regulations and mitigate bias in our training data and algorithms.

While some job displacement is likely, history shows that technological advancements often create new opportunities. Our customers can continue to use our platform to support their workforces through this transition and ensure they benefit from the power of AI.

Can you describe the future where AI and human skills synergistically combine to achieve a result that neither could have accomplished alone?

Yes, absolutely. Take the customer service side of the industry. Convoso believes the next evolution of AI in customer service lies in outbound sales and proactive outreach. We have found that many contact centers are looking to transition agents to a proactive model to preemptively solve customer problems and drive revenue (and reduce costs). Using AI to automate low-level skills and leverage the most skilled agents across inbound and outbound, contact centers can capitalize on agent expertise and drive more impactful, longer-lasting connections with customers across the entire customer lifecycle, pre-and post-sale.

However, a crucial market gap must be addressed: Current CCaaS platforms built for customer service operations and designed for inbound interactions often lack the functionality and power to handle sales and scale proactive outreach effectively. Meanwhile, technology platforms built for outbound call centers — such as Convoso’s platform — operate fundamentally differently and are more efficient at driving connections and revenue.

We believe that the disruptive force GenAI brings to contact centers will force the need for contact center leaders to rapidly educate themselves on how to run outbound call center operations effectively.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I practice the wisdom of Kabbalah, which teaches you to transform from the desire to receive for the self alone into the desire to receive for the sake of sharing. It’s through the act of sharing and giving that we can experience true fulfillment. So, my movement would be to find a way to incorporate that mindset into all aspects and relationships in our lives.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Learn more about Convoso here: and follow me on LinkedIn here:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

About The Interviewer: Kieran Powell is the EVP of Channel V Media a New York City Public Relations agency with a global network of agency partners in over 30 countries. Kieran has advised more than 150 companies in the Technology, B2B, Retail and Financial sectors. Prior to taking over business operations at Channel V Media, Kieran held roles at Merrill Lynch, PwC and Ernst & Young. Get in touch with Kieran to discuss how marketing and public relations can be leveraged to achieve concrete business goals.

C-Suite Perspectives On AI: Nima Hakimi Of Convoso On Where to Use AI and Where to Rely Only on… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.